I know I said I was only going to talk about the unique situation of parenting twins on my other site Twin Life Hacks. Here’s the thing though…I have TWINS and a four-year-old, and two businesses so my other site and corresponding book have progressed about as much as my progress in losing the last 10 pounds of ‘baby weight’…which is to say…the mind is willing but the flesh is exhausted and just needs to eat the candy sometimes. However, now that pre-school has started I have been talking with other moms again -actual talking IRL, not just on FB and this year I’ve been encountering more twin parents that I’ve ever met before, so it’s on my mind to share some experience, strength and hope to you parents of multiples and if you just so happen to ‘only’ have one newer baby and another kid approximately 2ish years older this might be somewhat helpful to you too
When I found out that I’d be having twin BOYS, due to be born right after Bisky turned two, I’d be lying if I said I was anything other than a nauseous combination of devastated and terrified. Devaffied? My doctor and other ‘helpful’ folks told me to hunker down, that the first year would be really hard but that after that it would get better. At the time, I had to dismiss that advice because I try to live my life one day at a time and imagining a whole YEAR of ‘hard’ is a bit too much for me on any given day let alone when double doses of pregnancy hormones are coursing through me.
I’m really glad I didn’t know what I know now, which is that the first two years are pretty much nothing short of chaos, wrapped in noise, surrounded by body fluids. Of course we had extenuating circumstances of extremely adverse financial interventions and the fact that we had recently relocated to a new state where NO family lived which doubtlessly added to the trauma. On the plus side, we were incredibly blessed that the boys made it to full term with no health issues so we didn’t have to contend with NICU and the associated stress with that.
Oddly, most of the twin parents I’ve spoken to had a very similar gap as we did between the first born and the twins. We all kind of agreed that if health issues weren’t a factor, it’s almost harder to introduce ANY newborn into a family dominated with one toddler than the actual fact of having two babies. All I remember from the 6 months pre-birth to 6 months after is fear, guilt, back pain, sleeplessness and a growing hatred of parenting advice – particularly around the topic of breastfeeding.
If you’re in that boat currently please don’t feel alone, bad or weird if you:
- Find yourself resenting the new baby/ies for ruining your first child’s life.
- Find yourself resenting your first child for their continual efforts to do away with their new siblings.
- Find yourself downright seething with resentment towards mothers whose first children ‘just LOVE’ the new baby and can’t stop kissing and being nice to them (I still think they’re all lying)
- Wonder repeatedly why you did this again
- Wonder repeatedly if it’s supposed to be this much harder the second time
- Decide every day for 4 months that it’s easier to go without whatever it is you think you need outside the house (food, clothes, companionship) than try to figure out how to manage all the babies without losing anyone (thank you Amazon).
I don’t have a lot of advice if you’re currently in the throes of this other than it passes and it gets better. This might be a fun and joyful season for you and if so power to you, but if it just seems really hard, and tiring and noisy and scary that’s okay too. You’re not alone. (If it starts to become more than that, and you can’t get out of bed or you start seriously entertaining harming yourself or your kids please don’t delay talking to your doc about postpartum depression.)
BUT…I do want to offer some hope from nearly 2 ½ years later.
- As much as I feared the babies would ruin Bisky’s life, I am so glad now that we had them and based on our crazy life I think I would have felt really bad if she was an only child because I think a) it would have been unbearably lonely for her and b) she would likely have turned into a megalomaniac.
- At 2.5 and 4.5 they are playing together (when they’re not competing for resources) and it’s awesome.
- By now, everyone can walk and listen to directions reasonably well so we can actually leave the house and do things and it’s even fun.
- I no longer NEED a 3-kid cart to go shopping, as Bisky can walk beside me so logistics are much easier.
- My oldest is a nosy little tattle-tale (part of the resource competition) which makes her a little hard to take in pre-school but REALLY comes in handy helping me keep an eye on the boys.
- Watching them hug each other, not to sound too sappy, makes it all worthwhile. All of it.
So yes, although it gets even noisier, messier and more chaotic, it also gets much, much easier and more enjoyable. You CAN do this!